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Mattioli Woods eyes bolt-on deals | Artisanal raises Asia stakes

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5pm: Blue chips eke out a small gain

The FTSE 100 managed to stay in positive territory to end the session 9.31 points higher at 7,269.92.

Danni Hewson, AJ Bell financial analyst, said: “Both the FTSE 100 and 250 eked out small gains today, powered in part by really decent retail sales figures and upbeat news about the efficacy of Covid boosters against the Omicron variant. “

British Airways owner IAG has enjoyed strong trading despite increased restrictions as have Cineworld, Restaurant Group and National Express

“All eyes will be on the Chancellor now he’s back from his Californian jaunt.  Will he shake that money tree again, are there any magic notes left to wrestle with, but crucially can the hospitality sector survive if help is not forthcoming? 

“There is no lockdown but how many of us have altered plans, cancelled meals out or opted out of Christmas drinks?”


9.30am: Retail gives index early lift

The FTSE 100 was up in early trade after retail sales made a stronger than expected recovery in November. However, the index fell back into negative territory to trade at 7,254.98, down 5.63 points.

Retail and hospitality stocks were among the gainers, with M&S up by 2.3%%, Next was up by 1.6%, Restaurant Group jumping 2.51% and Cineworld up by 3.12%.

AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould, says: “The Bank of England surprised everyone by hiking interest rates yesterday.

“In doing so it only confirmed new Governor Andrew Bailey’s reputation as an ‘unreliable boyfriend’ after he flirted with a widely expected rise back in November before thinking twice, but the market seems to be taking this latest development in its stride.

“While the decision to move now seems at odds with the uncertainty around the economic impact of the Omicron variant, and rising rates are not typically good news for stocks, businesses and markets don’t love uncontrolled inflation either so the Bank of England at least trying to get a handle on things isn’t all bad news.

“It was not a complete surprise then to see the FTSE 100 made a decent fist of things on Friday.”


8am: HSBC fined over money laundering

The Financial Conduct Authority has fined HSBC Bank £63,946,800 for “unacceptable” failings in its anti-money laundering processes.

Full story to follow


7am: Mattioli Woods expects bolt-on deals

Money

Specialist wealth and asset management business Mattioli Woods said its recent acquisitions – Maven Capital Partners and Ludlow Wealth Management – are performing and integrating well.

The anticipated revenue and cost synergies are already starting to be realised, with both businesses trading ahead of budget for the year to date, it said in a trading update for the six months to the end of November.

It said it expected to be make bolt-on acquisitions as it anticipates “further consolidation within the wealth management, pensions administration and financial planning sectors, with many more opportunities coming to market.”

The company said there were potentially more “substantial opportunities in the longer term”.

Net inflows into the group’s investment and asset management services and the number of new clients on-boarded in the financial year to date are ahead of the prior year, reflecting the strength of existing client referrals and new business initiatives. 

These initiatives are also driving an increasing pipeline of new business enquiries, with organic revenue growth in excess of 10%. for the period.


7am: Retail sales rise

Retail sales volumes rose by 1.4% in November 2021 and were 7.2% higher than their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) February 2020 levels.

Clothing stores sales volumes in November were above pre-coronavirus levels for the first time, 3.2% above their level in February 2020.


7am: Artisanal increases Asia equity stakes

Whisky curator The Artisanal Spirits Company is increasing its equity interests in its Asian subsidiaries, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society Japan and The Scotch Malt Whisky Society China.

The board says both represent key growth markets for the group.

SMWS has agreed to acquire 10% of the equity in SMWS China beneficially held by Christina Leung for about £400,000. It is acquiring the entire 30% equity interest in SMWS Japan currently held by Mark Bedingham, for £25,000.

David Ridley, executive managing director, said: “With Asia being one of the fastest growing whisky markets in the world, our China and Japan operations will continue to form an  integral part of the ASC growth story for years to come.

“With an established presence in each, we believe that now is the time to take these steps to increase our share of the value created and help support the future growth in both China and Japan.

“We have a wide range of exciting plans in place to enhance the experience of our members in Asia and, supported by these improved terms, we are excited about what the future holds for The Scotch Malt Whisky Society in the region.”


Global markets

A late sell-off of tech stocks undermined the US and Asian markets and was expected to spill over into London this morning, said traders.

The blue chip FTSE 100 was forecast to shed around 30 points, reversing some of Thursday’s 89-point gain to 7,250 in spite of the Bank of England’s rate rise which saw the pound rise.

British consumer sentiment will be with clearer after publication of data on retail sales and confidence.

In the US the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.5%, while the broad-based S&P 500 gave back 0.9%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, up for most of the day, closed the session down 0.1%.

Asian equities struggled to get out of the red. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo fell 1.8%. The Shanghai Composite and Hang Seng were down 1.1% in late trade.



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